This time of year beckons us outside to enjoy the cooler fall temperatures and changing landscape. Having a backyard space that is beautiful to look at, but also allows you to kick back, relax and enjoy a quiet conversation or entertain friends and family, is key to getting the most enjoyment out of your yard. We asked landscape architect Troy Rhone, of Troy Rhone Garden Design, to share some tips for creating a space that is both beautiful and functional.

Add a Seating Area

Creating a comfortable spot to take a seat and enjoy the outdoors goes a long way in allowing you to get the most out of your outdoor space. According to Troy, “In garden design, it is always important to create spaces where people can actually use the garden and make it functional. Sometimes it’s done with a covered setting, such as in this case. In order to lighten the mood, curtains can be hung to fight against the hardness of stone floors, as well as acting like vertical walls that wrap you in soft linen. The main idea is always to create a comfortable environment for you and your guests to enjoy quiet conversation in an intimate setting.”

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Linen drapes add softness and intimacy to this covered seating area.

Personalize It

If gardening is your thing or growing your own fruits and vegetables sounds appealing, a space for this can be incorporated into the design in an aesthetically pleasing way. A lush herb garden may be perfect for someone who enjoys cooking, while a vegetable and chicken garden works for the more serious foodie.

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The herb garden shown here looks almost too pretty to use.

Troy says, “Whether you live in the city or the country, anyone can grow vegetables. It’s fun to grow produce and, when the opportunity arises, to have chickens. Generally, I will mix flowers and cut flowers with the vegetables. I also tend to grow roses and espalier fruit trees around vegetable gardens, as well. All of these things keep a vegetable garden interesting and colorful.”

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Backyard chickens are a popular trend. Incorporating flowers into a vegetable garden helps create a pretty, colorful space.

Create a Focal Point

Having a focal point helps draw the eye to the garden and bring it into focus. Rather than simply having a grouping of plants, consider adding a garden feature, such as a statue, fountain or a large vessel, to create deliberate awareness in the space. Existing trees or views can also be used as focal points. Really, the options are limitless!

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Here we have a central axis focal point. From anywhere in the garden, the fountain takes center stage.

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A stunning pool makes for a luxurious focal point that is both beautiful and functional.

Keep Architecture in Mind

Outdoor spaces should complement the home’s facade and interior architecture. The home shown here is older, but the interior has been updated with clean lines. To balance the old with the new, Troy designed a clean line of a Boxwood hedge which is often seen in old English formal gardens, as well as in many contemporary gardens. Using trees in containers also accentuates a clean line look. The concept of blending old and new should also be considered with outdoor furnishings.

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The contemporary looking teak table and woven wicker chairs blend a contemporary feel with the old-world style.

Thanks for these inspiring garden design tips, Troy! For expert design services and kid glove customer service, contact Troy Rhone Garden Design.

And thanks to Edward Badham for these incredible photos!